Roasted mashed and cooled seminole squash ready for bread making
I’ve covered before how much I like seminole squash – they taste great, and they store a incredibly long time, and as a plant they resist pretty much any pest… the one drawback is that they take a relatively long time to mature… but with each growing year I’m selecting for earlier maturity.
So to take advantage of that great taste one of our favorite recipes is this Seminole Pumpkin Bread. It’s reasonably sweetened rather than cakey sweet allowing the sweet flavour of the pumpkin to shine. As with much of our baking we’re using whole grain flours. My preference here leans towards whole barley flour, but whole wheat is also a nice flavour, ground of course on the homebuilt grain mill. Either of these flour options provide a complexity that goes miles beyond a pumpkin cake loaf served in some green logo coffee shop.
So Libby’s just announced that due to wet weather production of canned pumpkin this year would be half the previous year’s quantity. I love pumpkin in recipes but this news doesn’t particularly distress me and hasn’t sent me on a panic buying binge – I can my own pumpkin.
I actually buy the sugar pumpkins for canning, but they are just as cheap as they have been in previous years at about a dollar each – which nets more that a can worth of pumpkin – which on sale averages about $1.50 and considerably more on a day to day basis.
Cutting the rind from the pumpkin
Now you may be wondering why bother canning at all, why not just let the pumpkin sit on the shelf since as a winter squash they should last. Alas, while some winter squash are great at avoiding rot for prolonged periods – my favorite being Seminole squash, which in addition to tasting great have to be some of the toughest vegetables out there – not only in terms of the fruit lasting but also the vines which are rock solid. Unfortunately, they do require a rather long season for Eastern Ontario… if you are in a more temperate locale you definitely need to give them a try – but divergence aside – pie pumpkins seem to want to rot fairly soon after picking, which means to use them requires canning. If I had a larger area I’d probably just dispense with rot prone pie pumpkins and grow winter squash that make meals and pumpkin baking every bit as good if not better than sugar pumpkins, but given my relative lack of space buying less shelf stable goods and preserving them is a sensible balance.
Jars of canned pumpkin
Fortunately preserving them is easy. You’ll need to cut the pumpkin up, clean out the seeds interior guts, remove the outer skin and then cut the meat up into chunks about 3/4″ to 1″ square and then put it in a pot of water that you bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Then you’ll hot pack and pressure can. The full instructions can be found on the appropriate page at the National Center for Home Food Preservation website here.
The pressure canner needed to carry this out is an investment, but here’s another example of making that purchase earn it’s return. I put back the equivalent of 30 cans of pumpkin saving roughly $30. Now that may not seem like much but given the pressure cooker costs $400 that savings is enough to pay for around 7% of the total cost for an evening worth of invested time, that’s probably better than your stock portfolio did, and it will likely taste a whole lot better.